Jailed anti-terrorists

[Sent to the Phnom Penh Post on 6 March 2012. Not published.]

Scott Stewart (“Thwarting the terrorists”, Post, March 6) comments on the difficulty of preventing terrorist attacks “unless security forces have a source inside the group or manage to intercept the group’s communications”.

In some circumstances, even an inside source is not enough. More than 15 years ago, five Cuban nationals were sent to Florida to infiltrate Cuban exile groups that were launching frequent terrorist attacks against the island. These attacks included the world’s first bombing of a civilian airliner, killing 73; over the years, more people have been killed in these terrorists crimes than were killed in the terrorist attacks on the US on September 11, 2001.

In 1998, the Cuban government presented to the US government the evidence compiled by these five heroic individuals concerning the terrorist activities being planned and carried out in clear violation of US laws.

The US government promised to take action, did nothing for several months and then responded by arresting the five as “spies”. After a grotesquely unjust trial, all were sentenced to long prison terms. Four are still in prison; the fifth, who recently completed his sentence, is being forced to remain in Florida for three years, where his life is of course threatened by the terrorists.

The US government is supposedly engaged in a “war on terrorism”. But its longest held prisoners of war are anti-terrorists.

For more detailed information on the prisoners whom the Cubans call “the five heroes”, see http://www.thecuban5.org.

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